My garden might not be the best kept, weed free garden in my local area, but it seems to improve a little every year.
That improvement has been, more often than not, through trial and error. I don’t set out each year to make my garden better but I’m obviously learning as I go.
It is said that the best way to learn is by getting stuck in, making mistakes and learning from them. Gardening is most definitely all about getting stuck in, and I’m good at making mistakes!
I have made many gardening mistakes, but remembering them helps my gardening to improve when spring comes around and it’s time to plant again.
Here are some of my past gardening mistakes so you can safely not make them as well.
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1. Purchasing Plants without Learning about Them
In the past, I went to the nursery and bought plants that appealed to me without reading about them. I went by what they looked like right then, their flowering season and whether I liked how they looked.
Unfortunately, I would often plant them in the wrong place or care for them improperly. Indeed some plants just cannot be grown in my garden. Soil type makes a big difference to some plants.
Most plant containers have cards that specifically state how large the plant will grow, how much sun it needs, and whether it needs frequent watering. You can also read information about whether the plant appeals to deer.
If information about the plant is not posted in the pot, ask a nursery employee about care and planting conditions.
2. Ignoring Gardening Catalogs
When I first started gardening, I typically went to a nursery to purchase plants and threw away gardening catalogs.
Because seeing them for real seemed a much better bet than ordering blind and hoping they arrived in good condition.
Eventually, I began looking at catalogs because I didn’t want to get out and visit our local nursery again, and noticed that they often had diagrams of shade and sun plants.
I found these much more helpful than the very basic plant labels that come with a nursery plant.
Catalogs also contain plants that can be difficult to find in a nursery and give you a wider choice. Additionally, you have the opportunity to call with questions and get knowledgeable answers.
When 2020 happened and everything shut down, just as spring was coming, I had a whole garden that needed planting. We had moved 6 months before and there were no plants – it was just boring grass!
The choice was Amazon (using local marketplace sellers) or no plants. We chose Amazon. You can buy anything on the marketplace. Sure the sellers pay Amazon a fee, but they got our business and we got our plants.
3. Purchasing Too Many Plants at One Time
It is easy to buy more plants than you have time to plant. Purchasing plants in batches enhances your ability to plant them before they die. As you finish planting one batch of plants, you can purchase more.
I know it’s so easy to get carried away when you are visiting a plant nursery or flicking through a catalog. You think that a couple more plants won’t matter.
But you end up with double the number you set out to buy. So double the time to get them in the ground and watered.
Gardening Mistakes that Make It Tough to Keep the Garden Looking Pretty
4. Gardening Without the Right Equipment
Attempting to pull weeds without gloves or a pad for the knees can be a painful gardening mistake. Many weeds can cause itching or have sharp pricks that can be painful to touch.
Sitting on your knees to pull weeds for long periods of time can be uncomfortable without a pad. If you don’t sit but spend long periods of time bending over then your back will complain. A lot!
When weeding only ever causes you pain and discomfort it will make you unwilling to do it regularly which then causes it’s own problems.
These are my go to gardening tools:
- Garden kneeler (you need one of these!)
- Garden trowel set (essential weeding tools we all need)
- Sturdy gloves (soil drys your hands out)
- Weed bucket (much more efficient to collect as you go)
- Root slayer (makes light work of those pesky roots)
5. Failure to Weed Regularly
I hate to weed, and sometimes it is apparent when people see my garden. In my mind weeding is a once and done job. But you and I know that is not true. It’s a never ending job!
Instead of spending hours once a month, I try to weed for short periods of time during the day so my garden does not become overgrown with weeds.
If you’ve got kids (who can be shown what is a weed and what is not) then getting them to help will keep the weeds more manageable.
I have also discovered that plants that naturally spread help keep the weeds from becoming noticeable.
Don’t make my mistakes
Take the hard work out of your garden by not making the same mistakes I did. It is easy to get carried away and try and do everything in one day, whether that is weeding, buying plants or planting them out.
Take a little time to plan. Step back after each gardening session and most importantly, enjoy your garden!
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